CROSS RIVER, N.Y. – Despite their buzzer-beating win against Irvington on Saturday, Jan. 25, John Jay entered last Friday’s game at Somers High School sitting in fifth place in the league with a 1-3 record.
So, the Indians faced a tall order against the 5-0 Tuskers, who defeated John Jay, 63-47, earlier in the season on Jan. 7. A 57-35 loss to Yorktown two days earlier may have also weighed heavily, but trailing by only 6 points toward the end of the first quarter, things didn’t look so bad.
However, that was the closest John Jay got in the 59-36 defeat.
Following Sarah Pieratti’s drive to the hoop to make the score 14-8, the road back home began with a 12-2 run by the Tuskers. A short jumper and layup by Emily Arena got Somers going, and threes by Pooja Rao and Dani DiCintio marked the beginning of John Jay’s end.
On the strength of DiCintio’s 15 points, the lead would grow to 33-15 by the half, but putting the stops on Somers ball movement offense wasn’t the only hurdle for John Jay. A quick footed, pressing defense forced numerous John Jay turnovers, while also ushering in a good number of unforced ones.
“We knew they would pressure us,” said Coach Matt Gallagher. “We let them get the better of us, and they were our head.”
Kendall Miller, who led the way for John Jay with 15 points, did come out of the intermission with a blank slate, though. She gave John Jay hope with a tough fought put back and a long three at the top of the key. But both brief respites were met in kind by two momentum killing threes by Rao.
“She’s a great player, inside and out,” said Gallagher.
The lead grew to its largest at 51-29 with 5:42 left in the game.
Last week’s losses to Yorktown and Somers dropped John Jay’s record to 8-9.
With Lakeland scheduled next (Tuesday, Feb. 4), Gallagher knows his team needs to put the losses in the rear view.
“You need a short memory in this game, and we’ll bounce back,” he said.